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Is Kevin Garnett A Fake Thug?

Submitted by on April 20, 2010 – 10:21 am15 Comments
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Kevin Garnett is a former NBA MVP, a winner of an NBA championship ring, a 13-time All-Star, a 12-time All-NBA teamer, a former Defensive Player of the Year and one of the greatest power forwards of all-time. Is he also the NBA’s number one fake thug?

The latest KG incident came in Boston’s first game against the Miami Heat in their current NBA playoff series. Garnett got tangled up with Miami’s Quentin Richardson (who could be Memphis Bleek’s long-lost brother), and threw an elbow to his head, resulting in a one-game suspension. This is how Q-Rich described it:

“He started to talk to me, so I talked back. I don’t have any business talking to [Garnett’s teammate Paul Pierce], he was on the ground crying. I don’t know what was going on, two actresses over there, that’s what they are.”

Richardson is 66”. Kevin Garnett is 612.** Let’s take a look at some of the other players Kevin Garnett has had confrontations with recently:


Jose Calderon (61)


Ben Gordon (63)

Some of you might be thinking that KG has also picked on guys his own size in the past, and you’d be half right. One of them was Atlanta’s Zaza Pachulia, who was blindsided by a KG elbow. Another was San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, he got a slap in the back of the head from behind. The third was Detroit’s Antonio McDyess. Check the clip of that incident here, and watch KG set a world record in backpedaling.

(We’re not even including Garnett yelling at teammate Glen “Big Baby” Davis while he was sitting on the bench—and making him cry. You can watch the clip here.)

However, two incidents which occurred during KG’s time with the Minnesota Timberwolves (where he played in relative obscurity) sum up his career as a so-called “enforcer” perfectly. The first involved an unheralded rookie named Rick Rickert, who scored on Garnett during an informal scrimmage. KG dealt with this by sucker-punching Rickert in the jaw, causing a wound that required seven stitches.

The other involved former teammate Anthony Peeler. The two players squared off during a Sacramento–Minnesota playoff game. As usual, KG found himself in a physical confrontation with a much smaller player—and the end result? Peeler sent KG to the floor with an elbow, then added a punch to the jaw for good measure. For the record, Peeler is 64.

Would Peeler have pulled this against some of the NBA’s legendary enforcers, guys like Charles Oakley or Rick Mahorn? Would an NBA player in the 1980s or 90s have called Xavier McDaniel an “actress”? No sir. So does this make Kevin Garnett a halfway crook? All signs point to yes.

(Just for fun, here’s a few of the links I came across while researching this article: “Kevin Garnett a psycho?”; “Which Celtic teammate will Kevin Garnett punch first?”; “Kevin Garnett: A History of Racism”)

** You are right, there’s no such height as 6’12″, but Garnett has called himself 6’12″ instead of 7’0″ so he isn’t pigeonholed into the typical role of a seven-footer.

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